Hello All: I was asked this week to provide a brief biography for consideration by those who may be in a position to support me. As I was sending it off, I realized this may help some of you who don’t know me well to get a sense of who I am and what God has called me to, so here it is:
Hello, my name is Carrie Elsden. I am presently living in Hamilton, Ontario but believe God has called me to be a long-term missionary in Zimbabwe, Africa. I am trained as a Registered Nurse and am working as a Public Health Nurse in maternal-child here in Hamilton. I also have my International Board Certification as a Lactation Consultant (a breastfeeding specialist).
I did not grow up in a Christian family but was introduced to God through a friend in high school. Shortly after I professed my belief in Jesus and my commitment to follow Him, a friend went on a short-term mission trip, introducing me to the idea of Christian missions. I felt like this could be something that God had for my future and embarked on a couple of short-term mission trips myself, further confirming my desire to engage in overseas missions.
In my early days in university, God directed me towards some interesting statistics. I learned that while Zimbabwe was touted as the “bread-basket of Africa” (at the time), they had some of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world. This discrepancy ignited an interest and passion in my heart of the plight of the Zimbabwean people and birthed a deep love for them.
When I began working for Public Health, I met another woman who had lived as a missionary kid in Angola, Africa. She invited me to join her in traveling to Angola (where her parents still live) to engage in some public health nursing and to get a taste for missions in Africa. Her family are members of SIM Canada and so I joined with her and this agency to plan for our trip to Angola. To my surprise, God had other plans for me and due to a serious injury, I was unable to travel with her to Angola. During the time of my injury and recovery, SIM was instrumental in praying for me and supporting me. As my recovery progressed I felt God directing me to apply for a long-term opportunity with SIM.
There was some concern about the difficulty of the living situation in Zimbabwe and whether it would be possible for me to live and work in this context. Amazingly, God opened a door to allow me to travel to Zimbabwe in January of 2009 for an exploratory trip with some of the leadership of SIM. During that trip it was confirmed that my skills and training fit in very nicely with the work of the Hope for AIDS project already running successfully in Mutare, Zimbabwe. I was given the green light by these SIM leaders to pursue long-term ministry in this context.
At present, I am continuing to work full-time for Public Health while trying to share this passion that God has put in my heart with others. Currently I have been blessed to have received 63% of my one-time expense needs (including things like pre-field preparation, tickets/visa, purchase of a used vehicle, household setup and language learning) and 18% of my monthly expenses have been pledged (including on-going living expenses). I am still actively looking for networking opportunities and for partners in this mission of God’s. Specifically, I am needing prayer partners and those willing to partner with me financially. If you are interested in supporting me or know of someone who might be please contact me.
Thanks for your time and consideration, Carrie Elsden firstname.lastname@example.org